Top tips for Empty Classroom Day this Friday 17 June.
Outdoor learning is so important - that’s why we love and support Empty Classroom Day. We think it can be a brilliant way of getting some Wild Time.
This year Empty Classroom Day has teamed up with Persil to make it easier for schools and parents to get their hands on advice, lessons plans, draft paperwork (like risk assessments) and tools to support outdoor learning. The idea is that their global reach will help take Empty Classroom Day far beyond the UK to an international audience – helping even more kids get even more Wild Time – at least for one day.
We know that not all our lovely network members are teachers, so how can you join in, or support your school?
Top Tips for a wild day
1. Start at home. Tell the kids about Empty Classroom Day. Get them excited about it - and ask them to talk to their teachers about it.
2. Sign up to Empty Classroom Day. It's free and easy and their website has great ideas and resources. There's still time!
3. Ask your school what they are doing? If the school doesn't know about it, they won't join in. You needn't create work for them, just ask if kids could even read outside for 15 minutes, instead of inside.
4. Get them outside for as little as 10 minutes. Empty Classrooms needn't be all day long! If you can revise those times-tables for 10 mins in the playground, that is brilliant.
5. Offer to help out, if you can. It can be difficult for teachers and schools to access outdoor learning if they don't have on-site facilities, or enough assistance. Help man the supervision of a walk to the local park, or similar.
6. Start small. The fear of risk assessments for a tree-climbing day at the local forest (or even how to find a local forest) can put anyone off. What about searching for bugs in the school yard, or counting birds. For an art challenge - make cloud formation art?
7. Check out our Wild Time for Schools website. Easy ideas for KS1 and KS2 lessons - based on time slots. 10 mins in maths? Measure with sticks... Share with the teachers and/or the PTA.
8. Bring it inside if the outside it too challenging. If you just can't manage it - and we know some schools can't - then think about bringing the outside in, with a picnic rug, sticks and twigs and some of the tools for lessons being nature-based.
9. Share your successes. Make a special report, get the kids to do an assembly, or presentation and get it out onto social media (not the kids, obviously!). When it becomes more popular, it becomes more normal and then... then it becomes easier.
Sharing your successes!
We know that there are loads of parents and teachers doing this already – and not just on one sunny day – so we want to learn from you. We want to hear from you if your school, or your kids’ school, take part. Please share your ideas and successes – particularly how you overcame any hurdles, so we can share your solutions with others.
How did you made it work? What did you do? What resources did you draw on? What tools did you use? Did you involve anyone from outside school? Do you have training days around outdoor learning?
We’ll compile your responses and thoughts and share them.
We believe – like many of you – that there is no better place for children to learn (and play) than outside with hands-on activities.
Enjoy this Empty Classroom Day!